I like genealogy. I like walking around cemetaries and checking out old headstones. I like wandering aimlessly just reading peoples names and birth dates and death dates. I like the quiet you find in an old, isolated cemetary.
You might think this is odd. And you might think it strange. And it may be. And I’m not sure why I like doing it because it usually just leaves me feeling sad – seeing how short life can be, seeing uncared for headstones, seeing headstones so worn away or broken that you cannot even read the name.
Each headstone has a name, but to me these are anonymous lives. While I’d like to know their stories I don’t get that privilege. These people either had family or were alone and they either have descendents or they don’t. But what they all have in common is that they all experienced one of the certainties of life – they all died.
I always hope that their lives were valued. I always grieve the loss others felt by their passing. I always wonder about their stories. I always say a prayer for their souls.
And it is hard for me to relay what it is a solitary walk in a cemetary stirs up in my soul – sadness, angst, peace, calm, appreciativeness of life, worry – emotions and thoughts run the gamut. But it always brings perspective. After I am gone people will be sad, people will remember me for a while, but in time I will be forgetten – such is life and so goes time. But at that point it will not matter because where I will be is beyond sadness, pain, and suffering. Where I will be is beyond comprehensible joy. Where I will be is where I do not need a headstone to tell others that “I was” because where I will be “I will be” — with He who loves me, He who knew my name before He formed me in the womb, He who has loved me, He who has called me by my name and said “You’re mine”.
(…But just in case I need some help getting there -say a prayer and urge me every upwards? Thanks.)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you” -Jeremiah 1: 5
“I have called you by name: you are mine.” – Isaiah 43: 1
“You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears.” – James 4:13-17